Lewis Hamilton Gives the Brits That Special Feeling At Hockenheim!

Andrew DaviesCorrespondent IJuly 20, 2008

I woke up today and the first thought I had in my head was the German GP at Hockenheim. I tried to keep myself busy until the beginning of the Grand Prix, but I just couldn’t stop thinking about it.

I knew inside, after watching qualifying, that something special was going to happen, and it did. That special feeling that I had? It’s the Lewis Hamilton feeling.

What a race at Hockenheim! Lots of overtaking, and a safety car thrown in. No rain this time round for the German GP, but the tension created at this race was still immense.

At the lights out, Hamilton, on pole position, made a great start. Kubica starting in seventh position made a lightning start, ending up fourth position at the end of lap 1. Can Kubica sustain his points position near the top this weekend? He has to.

Through out the first stint of the race, we could begin to see the pace of the McLarens vs. Ferrari. It was easy to see who was faster. The McLaren of Lewis Hamilton was basically 0.8 of a second faster than second place Felipe Massa. Hamilton was setting faster sector times almost each lap, pulling away and setting a great margin between himself and Felipe.

The battle behind was also heating up, as Jarno Trulli, who started fourth, had Raikkonen and Alonso behind him. The midfield battle was as intense as ever, all the cars quite close together battling for position. Button of Honda and DC of Red Bull Racing had another battle for position.

At lap 8, Lewis had a lead of 5.5 seconds, and he looked comfortable. It looked like nothing but a mechanical failure or situation beyond his control was going to stop him. Good consistent sector times followed, and he set another fastest lap time on lap 11. So far, so good.

Jarno Trulli in fifth place, was now looking comfortable with a small margin between him and Kimi Raikkonen. The pace of the Ferrari was nowhere it seemed, and Kimi knew he was in for a long day.

He was hoping for high temperatures, he didn’t get them. The track was at a low level of temperature throughout the Grand Prix, with its highest temperatures being right at the beginning of the race, and right at the end. Either way, Kimi was slow.

McLaren, in the hands of Lewis Hamilton, were looking very strong, and had an easy 0.4 to 0.8 seconds advantage over Ferrari. I’m really beginning to feel that McLaren have made some good progress with the car now, and the facts proved it.

Meanwhile, in the midfield, DC was battling with Jenson Button, and eventually dived down the inside to take Button for 13th position, leaving Button into the clutches of Williams’ Nico Rosberg, one of the five German drivers taking part in this years German Grand Prix.

At the back of the field, the two Force India cars had a fight, with Adrian Sutil passing Giancarlo Fisichella.

In Williams’ other car, Kazuki Nakajima spins on lap 18, and lets past Sutil and the one stopping Nelson Piquet of Renault. Renault was down the field due to Piquet only qualifying in 17th position.

At the front, Lewis Hamilton extends his lead furthermore to 11 seconds as he sets another new fastest lap. Just as he set his fastest lap, he comes into the pits for a crucial first stop. He takes on nine seconds worth of fuel and gets a new pair of hard tyres.

Lap 19 then, and Lewis rejoins the race track just ahead of Jarno Trulli, only for the Italian to then pass him. Lewis then tried to retake the place, but Trulli wasn’t having any of it.

But he was to be pitting soon anyway. It wasn’t a move Lewis really needed to make, because the team surely would have let him know that Trulli was about to pit. It worked out well for the Brit in the end. Massa pitted on lap 20, his stop being 7.9 seconds.

Alonso also pitted for Renault. Kovalainen pitted on lap 22. Alonso I think can achieve 5that best. I was hoping for Kovi to do very well here at Hockenheim. It seems that a podium could be on the cards for the Finn. His pace isn’t as good as Lewis’, but he’s got enough to catch Felipe Massa.

In the midfield Mark Webber pits on lap 24. Will he score points this race?

This is his most impressive season to date, and he will be looking to improve on his tally in this years championship.

Hamilton’s lead after the pit stops was 8.9 seconds, the loss of time due to Jarno Trulli making a move on the Briton. By lap 27, Lewis has yet again opened up the gap to over 10 seconds.

Impressive consistent pace is what wins world championships, said Niki Lauda before the race. Well here is Hamilton doing exactly that. Superb stuff.

Of the Germans in the race, Timo Glock is still yet to pit, driving well. He eventually pits on lap 30, he was in 3rdposition. Glock jumped at least 2 cars after his first stop, and was right up near his team mate.

Sebastian Vettel driving well again, he passes Timo Glock for 7th.

All that hard work by Timo undone By his fellow German!

Barrichello pits on lap 32, and rejoins alongside his teammate Button, leaving the two fighting for position down to the hairpin.

Nelson Piquet pits on lap 36. A long first stint, and he stops for his one fuel stop.

On lap 36 Timo Glock appeared to have a right rear suspension failure, and his car was sent into the pit straight wall backwards, He was conscious and survived. But he definitely felt that one, he was in the car for a few minutes. A very heavy impact.

The safety car was then deployed, lots of debris on the track. This would obviously ruin the lead Lewis Hamilton had built up.

On lap 38, the pit lane was opened, and almost everyone who needed fuel pitted, but Lewis Hamilton did not. McLaren think he has enough fuel to pull a gap so that when he stops, he will have enough of a margin over Felipe Massa.

But will he have enough fuel?

I didn’t think so, and I thought his chance of victory had been ruined. The likes of Piquet were in great luck, as he had a fully fuelled car and was high up the field. He is looking good for a podium finish. Massa was behind him with a fully fuelled car also.

Mark Webber’s RBR has a mechanical problem, and smoke is seen coming from his car for a few laps. He finally pulls over and retires from the race.

Alonso was in the pits and gets pushed over the white line at the exit by Sebastian Vettel. Alonso complains to his team, but I don’t think Alonso will get punished for that one.

Lap 42, and the safety car comes in, with Lewis Hamilton stretching out a lead of 2.2 seconds almost immediately.

Alonso is all over Vettel in the midfield and would like to pass him after the pit stop incident.

Barrichello and Coulthard make contact on lap 50; DC was unaware that Barrichello was there. DC has had so many tangles this year!

Hamilton also pitted on lap 50, and he had around a 15-second margin. That was not enough, and I wasn’t surprised either. It meant that when he came out, he had to overtake Massa and Piquet and Kovalainen to take victory.

Heidfeld is still in the lead of the Grand Prix, and he sets the fastest lap, as his car runs low on fuel ready for his final pit stop. He pits on lap 54. So its Piquet, Massa, Kovalainen, Hamilton.

Hamilton takes Kovalainen in the hairpin, although it looked very friendly. No surprises really, if I was Heikki I would have let him through. I'd rather him win than have the possibility of a Ferrari winning the race!

Heikki knew he didn’t have the pace to keep Lewis behind.

So Lewis began to catch Massa at a fast rate, setting fast sector times everywhere. Lap 56 and Hamilton has got Massa in his sights. He then takes him at the hairpin, then Felipe tries to fight back at the next few corners, but is muscled out of it by Hamilton. Massa ends up losing time, and Hamilton heads on to chase down Piquet.

Alonso spins and loses out a place to Nico Rosberg. The Spaniard is not at his best, it has to be said. How long will he stay at Renault?

They really need to get their act together quickly if they are going to challenge for the championship next year.

Into the final lap, and Lewis takes victory!

What a win, for me, one of the best of Lewis Hamilton's victories. He won at GB, and now at Germany. The momentum is very much going with him and the team.

That is the special feeling I have. I haven’t had it since the beginning of the 2007 season, when I knew we were in for a great season. I truly believe, after seeing this race, watching the times, that McLaren have got an edge. That’s the way it looks for me, and I’m really pleased for the team.

After all the spy gate saga wrecking last year's championship, we can focus on a great championship this year. And this year, McLaren will be at full strength, and Ferrari haven’t got anything up their sleeves to throw at McLaren this time around.

I’m still not going to say that McLaren WILL win, but I think they’ve got an edge. But its looking good in the McLaren camp. Ferrari will be having some long talks about where their pace was. I’m really looking forward to the next race now. We will get to see whether this apparent edge for McLaren is as true as it looked this weekend.

A few things to say about the race, I’m chuffed for Nelson Piquet; he has had a difficult rookie season. But he gets the podium, whilst Alonso is down the field. Mind you, Piquet was lucky, but maybe his luck is turning for this year finally. You need the talent to go along with it, so let's see what he does.

Timo Glock was sent to surgery for further checks. Let's wish him well and that he is fit for the next race.

I think without the safety car, Lewis would have won, with Massa in second and Kovalainen in third. The safety car wrecked Kovalainen's chances really. He had to let Hamilton by, as Heikki was not fast enough. Absolutely the right thing to do was to let him past. Well done.

Hamilton is looking great for this years championship now, the momentum is in his favour, at a great time of the year to get the momentum too. Stefano Domenicalli has got some work to do when he gets back to base at Ferrari.

Here are the final positions for the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim.

1. Lewis Hamilton

2. Nelson Piquet

3. Felipe Massa

4. Nick Heidfeld

5. Heikki Kovalainen

6. Kimi Raikkonen

7. Robert Kubica

8. Sebastien Vettel

9. Jarno Trulli

10.Nico Rosberg

11. Fernando Alonso

12. Sebastian Bourdais

13. David Coulthard

14. Giancarlo Fisichella

15. Kazuki Nakajima

16. Adrian Sutil

17. Jenson Button

18. Rubens Barrichello

19. Mark Webber

20.Timo Glock

The championship is now still very close, but Hamilton has the edge over his rivals.

He leads by 4 points, with Massa on 54 points in second place. Raikkonen is third with 51.

Kubica is now 10 points behind Lewis, and Heidfeld is closing in on his teammate with 41.

McLaren are now only eight points behind BMW in the constructors’ championship.

Ferrari are still way ahead in this years constructor championship. Still, eight races to go then, so all the positions still wide open. I’m going to put my money on Ferrari for the Constructors’ championship. Lewis has got my vote for the drivers’ championship.

Roll on, Hungary!


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